If you read my last post regarding my Boston Marathon Training Plan you may have come away with the idea that I have been less than motivated to train. That said, I have been training. I am typing this at 4:37 a.m. Shortly, I’ll head to the garage and hop on the Wahoo Kickr for a thorough workout. (Get your mind out of the gutter. It’s a bike trainer not a sex toy.)
Ordinarily, I’d be out there already but being “up to here” with work, I decided to use one of my precious PTO days and shorten my week to 4 10 hour days instead of the usual 5.
As I look back on the weeks since I PR’d at my “A” race of 2015 I realized that, other than a local 5K for work, I haven’t raced since. I’m okay with that. I began all these racing and training shenanigans a few years ago because I was so fat and out of shape I couldn’t effectively pursue some of my other life interests such as hunting and fishing. Contrary to the media portrayal of hunters as Elmer Fudd, hunting for most of us is a pretty rigorous day typically involving a lot of walking with rifle or bow, maybe a 15-20 lb. treestand, and usually a 10-20 lb. pack. There are hills, long distances, and if successful, a lot of heavy work. But it was my first passion in life and I’ve spent a very successful fall season cavorting about the forests of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As I stare into the freezer full of lean, high-protein venison in my freezer, I am not sorry I didn’t do any fall racing.
That said, it is almost Christmas (okay . . how did that happen so fast!?) and I need to think about next year’s race season. Obviously there is Boston in April. That’s a done deal. I have my confirmation, hotel, and train all booked.
I also decided since my BQ race came at the end of a hard season of long-course triathlon training, that I will train for Boston as a triathlete and not as a runner. It seems I am a far faster and healthier runner as a triathlete than I ever was as a runner. As I mentioned earlier, I signed up for the American Triple T. My plan is to train for Triple T and use the fitness for Boston of course adding a couple longer runs in there too.
Have you heard of the American Triple T race? Basically it is a series of 4 races from super-sprint distance to half-iron distance over 3 days. I have several friends who have done it repeatedly. “Good times, camaraderie, camping fun”. That’s all I heard before I signed up. Then I heard an interview with the race director Shannon Kurek. One of the comments that made me sit up and start to worry was when he was discussing the 2nd Olympic distance race (and the 3rd of 4). He said “It’s fun watching these elite athletes come out of the first swim loop, cramping up, and barely being able to make it back to the water and realizing they still have to run a 10K and a half-iron distance race tomorrow”. What!? Fun!? What sort of a sick sense of humor is that? I mentioned something on Facebook to Craig Durant who replied “Yeah, I was almost in tears last year and wanted to quit”. So what happened to good times and fun? That’s when it hit me . . this is fun. How did that happen? So there is something to look forward to.
I also have plans to race the Icicle 10 Miler in Wilmington in January. It is a localish race that I do most years when I’m not injured. I had signed up last year but was dealing with plantar fasciitis so bad I could barely walk. I volunteered at the race instead and got a free pass to this year’s event.
Still, in seeking to fill out the race calendar for the summer, nothing big has struck me. I’ve dabbled with the idea of doing something abroad. My wife has the bug to see Scandinavia and I am considering one of the Ironman 70.3 events in Sweden or Norway but there is the cost, logistics of bike transport, and the fact that I HATE flying. I haven’t crossed that off altogether yet.
I am seriously leaning toward back-to-back Olympic events in August. My favorite local race is Steelman. In a triathlon world where independent races are going defunct or being bought up by the Ironman juggernaut, it still seems to thrive and is one of the most well-run events out there. Rev3 Pocono is the week prior and is a race that has been moved around and bounced back and forth between Rev3 and Challenge (who have now retreated out of the US). Rev3 offers a half-iron distance race the same day but I really want to do Steelman and feel that the 70.3 followed a week later by the Olympic might be a bit tough. I do this for fun and fitness, not to see how much of a beating my body can take.
Which takes me to my next thought. For some reason, I feel obligated to schedule another long-course race. I’m not “allowed” to do another full ironman due to the lengthy training commitments, and even though I keep saying I want to I’m not sure I really do. I also remember being really miserable toward the end of Maine last year. Meanwhile, I’ve been finding the Olympic and International distances quite fun. I may dedicate the year to surviving Triple T and then having a good time doing shorter distances. I may also broaden my horizon and look at one or two . . . gasp . . . swimming-only events. Now who would have ever thought I’d say that?